This Four Bean Chili is not only delicious, but so incredibly easy to make. What’s even better, is you can use it on a multitude of different recipes.
Normally each year during the super bowl, we have a big group of friends over and though I always say I won’t stress myself making a feast to feed everyone, old habits are hard to break. Who wants to be in the kitchen catering to everyone’s needs when there are so many awesome commercials to watch — oh yeah, of course there’s the football game, too! 🙂 It’s a bit bittersweet this year that we won’t be able to host anyone, but I want to keep to our traditions. Well, the non-stressful ones at least!
This leads me to my incredibly easy and incredibly delicious Four Bean Chili recipe. Besides the fact that the adults will adore it, your kids will have a ball adorning their chili bowls with tons of accompaniments. But the best part about this recipe no doubt has to be the versatility of it.
My husband is all about the Four Bean Chili Baked Potato. To make this, poke a few holes in the side of a russet potato and put it in the oven at 425 degrees for 50 minutes. Once they’re done, slice the potatoes in half and serve the chili on top.
You can also make Four Bean Chili Spaghetti simply by making a big old pot of spaghetti and adorning it with the chili before serving. So simple and the perfect weeknight dinner.
Four Bean Chili Baked Fries have to be Chloe’s favorite. For these, I cut two russet potatoes into fries and air fried them for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. You can totally bake them in the oven too, it just might need a couple more minutes.
Last but certainly not least is this Four Bean Chili Mac & Cheese. For this one, cook the macaroni as directed. After you drain the pasta, place it back in the pot and mix with the chili and shredded cheddar cheese. Voila!
I would love to hear which variation is your favorite, or if you come up of any of your own!
Four Bean Chili
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil, divided
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 15 ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 28 ounce can chopped tomatoes with juice
- 2 15 ounce cans tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- In a sauté pan over medium heat place 1 tbsp of oil and sauté onions for 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and sauté another minute until the onions start to caramelize, then remove and place in a crock pot.
- In the same sauté pan, add another tbsp of oil and sauté the ground beef for 5 minutes, breaking down the beef with a wooden spoon until it’s cooked through and most of its juice has evaporated.
- Add the cooked beef and the remaining ingredients to the crock pot and stir to combine.
- Cover and cook the chili on low for 8 hours.
- Top with desired accompaniments and serve.
If I make this without the ground beef, will the other ingredient amounts stay the same?
Yep! If you want to add an extra can of chopped tomatoes to add more body you can, but it will be super tasty either way! You could also use plant based meat if desired 🙂
I do the same 🙂 I’m concerned about canned food and BPA so we use Pomi tomatoes and Whole Foods 365 or Pacifica brand organic beans in the boxes.
I’ve been making this recipe for years now; it’s a huge hit in our family. Now I use plant-based ground instead of beef — still just as good. Thank you!
Made this today for lunch for a group of men working on my house. They absolutely raved about it, as did my friend who took a quick taste. I simplified things a bit by browning the onion, garlic and ground beef together, then throwing everything else into the beef mixture in a large pot on the stove, bringing to a simmer, then letting it sit over a low heat until the guys were ready to eat. The spices were perfect! Thanks so much for a quick, “man-friendly” recipe.
Score! So glad you all enjoy it!
I’ve made this chili countless times! My family of four, with varying food preferences, always enjoys this chili; it’s the only one I make now! Thank you for sharing; I first found it in your book via my library and am thankful it’s available here too. Yum!!
really nice article thank so much for sharing !!! i do really enjoy it
. Are there any parents out there who slaves away at the stove for their family, only for it to be a complete waste?! They’d rather eat McDonald’s for dinner instead. I am so pissed.
I just made this chili — slow cooker overnight, then fridged all day, and just served it for dinner. The house smells great, and I LOVED the chili. My 3-year-old and husband, however, HATED it. My son had 2 small scoops of it, but took a bite every 5 minutes, and kept complaining about the beans. Finally ate half and pushed it away. My husband only ate a tablespoon’s worth. I am so angry because I spent all the time and effort to make it, and it turned out really well. Are there any parents out there who slaves away at the stove for their family, only for it to be a complete waste?! They’d rather eat McDonald’s for dinner instead. I am so pissed.
This freezes great! Reheat on the stove or in the microwave!
I would love to try but we have a hard enough time finishing one can of beans in two days. Will this recipe freeze well. Especially if the beans are canned – otherwise I’m tempted cut all the portions by a quarter and make from dried beans. I’m also not sure if they sell canned tomatoes and tomato juice here. Can tomato paste or a marinara sauce with fresh tomatoes be a good substitute.
My husband and I loved it but my 2 year old just ate the cheese and sour cream, oh well, I’ll try again later! Thanks for the delicious recipes
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tried the four bean chili & loved it!
Yes, that should work!
Hi. This looks amazing! Any idea if I can cut cooking time and do iron high for 4 hours?? Thanks
Hi! Can this be cooked on high for 4 hours?? Thanks.
What size crock pot is this for? I only have a 4qt one.
You can do this on the stove! Follow the directions exactly through step 2. Place all ingredients in a pot on the stove, cover and simmer on low for 1-2 hours!
what if you don’t have a crock pot? Can you make this on the stove?
Oh my! I have not heard of that before! Have you tried updating your browser or clearing your cache? I’ll send this message to my tech team and see what we can do!
Thanks for continuing to share recipes with us even though you’re a cookbook writer now!
I’ve had trouble with printing weelicious recipes in the past couple of months. When I open the print window, all of the words are jumbled or missing letters. Has this happened with anyone else? Hope it can be fixed soon because I love your new layout and would like to keep your print-outs in my binder of recipes.
Tomato juice! You can find it in the juice aisle near the V8!
Do you really mean tomato juice, or tomato sauce? I only have a 15 oz can of tomato sauce….
That should work!
Can this be cooked on High? I never seem to make the 8 hour cut-off for dinner. I’m not using meat if that makes any difference.
Yes! 🙂 Great time-saver for the morning.
I was wondering if it could be premade, the onions, garlic, meat, the night before and put in the fridge. And then put in the crockpot the next morning?
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Also! As if there were not enough wonderful options on your site for what to do with leftovers….
I found that a bit of chili and some grated cheddar cheese make a lovely quesadilla.
Fantastic recipe!! I made the chili yesterday for dinner, and just had some leftovers for lunch. My husband and I both enjoyed this as much as my 16 month old son.
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Yes, serving size is 1 cup 🙂
What is a serving size. I’m trying to portion out meals for myself and husband and I’m assuming that 1 serving is 1 cup? Am I close? 🙂 Thanks!
I love to try new chili recipes, this one looks very good. I have a ton of dry beans & I buy frozen beans too, so I will have to try it.
Finally got around to making this, it was awesome!! Even my no bean eating 6 year old tried some because Kenya eats it 🙂 watching your videos and reading the site with my boys has been the best way to get them to try new things! I think they think Kenya and Chloe are famous!
This was delicious! I substituted ground turkey for the ground beef but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Yum! My husband, 20 month old, and I all really enjoyed it. And we have tons of leftovers. Thanks Catherine for another great recipe that everyone enjoyed.
Yummy chili! I used two cans (28oz) of diced tomatoes and omitted the tomato juice. It definitely filled the crockpot up and I love how I have leftovers to freeze or use for another meal this week!
This was my very first attempt at using a crock pot/slow cooker. I made this last week and it was a huge hit with me, my husband, and our 3 y.o. son! We don’t eat meat, so I substituted a package of veggie meat for the beef and just added it right to the crock pot w/o sauteeing. I was also out of black beans, so I substituted garbanzos. Served it with some shredded cheddar on top. It was excellent!
I must have a really small crock pot. My husband had to run out in the mist of my cooking to borrow my friend’s. Make sure to use one of the largest crock pots out there. Can’t wait to eat this though!
This was delicious! My 17 month old has pneumonia and this is the first thing he’s eaten in days! I added a half a cup each of purred carrots and broccoli. No one noticed. Can’t wait to try it over mac n cheese tonight.
What size crockpot did you cook this in? I have an 8 qt, and was wondering how much it would fill it up.
I buy organic canned beans and tomatoes usually from trader joes or any health foods store. You can also make your own beans and tomato sauce if you prefer. One thing I love to do is prepare beans ahead of time and freeze in portions so when it comes to recipes that need canned beans, I have some available that is fresh but frozen. But when I am out, I use the canned ones.
I was reading the comments on the cans and how they can have BPA , I never knew that, so my question to catherine is, Do you only buy certain brands of canned beans or other stuff like tomato sauce, etc…???
made this chilli today for our little Super Bowl home party and it is SOO good, SUPER easy and my 3 1/2 year old even liked it. We topped it with cheese and sour cream! mmm..mmm
I also do not like the reliance on canned ingredients. Eden Organics beans were actually on sale today – score! So that helps. Pomi tomatoes come in a box (though are not organic) and you can get organic tomato juice in a bottle, so you can reduce the amount of canned goods (or at least cans with BPA lining) going into this soup. Making this tomorrow before we go to church and can’t wait to try it! Thanks for the recipe! Can’t wait to try the chili fries too! 😉
This recipe sounds delicious. I am definitely going to try this for my little one.
One quick question: Can I use ground chicken instead of beef? We do not eat beef, so I was wondering.
The recipe itself is perfect for little ones 🙂 you don’t need to change anything but if you like to change it up for parents you can add extra spice and hot sauce if you like 🙂
Catherine – if i wanted to make this not spicy and kind of sweet (for the little ones to enjoy too) would i need to modify anything, or is it so as is? Thanks!
So yummy! I made ours vegetarian simply by omitting the beef and adding veggie crumbles to the crock pot at about the last half our point.
You can use morning star brand soy crumbles.
Just leave the meat out 🙂 You won’t need to adjust anything, thats the best part of this recipe! 🙂
This sounds delicious! How would I make this vegetarian? Should I simply omit the beef and keep everything else the same or do I need to adjust the other items proportionally as well?
Made this last night and it was really good. I used chicken breast instead of ground beef because that’s what we had on hand. I also added habanero sauce to my bowl because I like spicy and obviously my 3 and 4 yr olds don’t. But…it was really good and the girls gobbled it up!!!!
I, for one, will definitely be working this recipe on Super Bowl Sunday! I was also wondering about the substitutability (is that a word?) of the tomato juice. But thanks to filaree way and Tori, I think my question has been answered! I will try this with the cans of tomato sauce I have on hand. Thanks again for the great (and fun) recipes, Catherine!
When soaking dried beans the night before how many cups of dried beans equals a 15 oz can?
I do a very similar recipe but I use one big can or two cans of diced tomatoes instead of tomatoe juice… we like tomato chunks 🙂 I also try to avoid canned foods most of the time, but sometimes I just don’t have time and this recipe is so great for those days!
I just made this recipe. Very good! My husband isn’t eating meat this month so I did a veggie version with carrots, green bell peppers, zucchini, celery and corn. Didn’t have white beans, so it was 3 bean for us, but it was still great. What kind of tomato juice do you use? Does tomato sauce work? I only had organic pizza sauce, so I just used one can and then added another can of vegetable broth to make it the right consistency (it turned out great! but I usually wouldn’t do it that way).
The recipe looks great, but I hate the reliance on canned foods. We stay away from canned food since the BPA leaches into the food. (Although Eden’s organic canned beans are bpa free, they are pretty expensive.)
One 15 oz can of beans is about 1 2/3 cups cooked; I round a half cup up when I scoop them from a pot. Websites differ a bit on how many dry beans to cook to make a can’s worth… some say 2/3 cup, others say that 1 c dry beans makes 3 1/2 cups cooked, I make big pots of beans and freeze extras in cottage cheese and yogurt tubs in the freezer in 1 and 2 can equivalents. I would NOT cook all these different beans together, as some will turn mushy before others are done. And always toss the soaking liquid for kidney beans, as they can release toxins.
What is the ratio of one 15oz can to dried beans? We really don’t buy the cans anymore, but I’d love to make this from all the dried bean varieties mentioned! Thank you.
Since the beef and beans are already cooked you really just need to keep it on the stove until it’s warmed through. If I was making it for all day eating though, I would put the burner on the lowest setting and just let it simmer. Check it periodically and give it a quick stir to make sure it’s not sticking or burning.
If I don’t have a crock pot, how long would you recommend cooking this on the stove top?